Skip to comments.William Jefferson D-La case could change bribery laws
Posted on 11/15/2007 4:39:47 AM PST by Libloather
Jefferson case could change bribery laws
Congress moves to redefine 'official acts'
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By Bill Walsh
WASHINGTON -- Bribery has been around as long as politics, but recent provocative legal challenges have prompted Congress to look at rewriting the laws to spell out more clearly what it means to be on the take.
Bipartisan legislation moving in the Senate would substantially lengthen the list of forbidden favors that could expose a member of Congress to charges of bribery. The move comes as Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, battles federal charges with a defense that his actions on behalf of various businesses were not "official acts" but private deals not covered by the current public corruption statutes.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., author of the bill and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, denied through a spokeswoman that the legislation was aimed at Jefferson, who is accused of taking nearly $400,000 for promoting businesses in western Africa.
"This legislation is not just for federal officials," spokeswoman Erica Cabot said. "Unfortunately, public corruption seems to be running a little rampant these days."
Still, a provision of the bill Leahy wrote with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, seems to take aim directly at Jefferson. It would broaden the definition of "official act" to include virtually any action a member of Congress takes while serving. The definition is critical. Bribery occurs only when a member takes something of value in return for performing an "official act."
The legislation unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 1 and awaits floor action.
Two cases cited
Jefferson has based a major portion of his defense on the vagueness of the current definition.
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
Main Entry: 1bribe
Etymology: Middle English, morsel given to a beggar, bribe, from Anglo-French, morsel
Date: 15th century
1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
2 : something that serves to induce or influence
Consider the fact that it's almost impossible to get a conviction on bribery charges NOW - just wait'll Congress "fixes" it...
If Jefferson walks on this it will destroy what little credibility Congress has left.
This is typical of the liberals mindset -
when the results don’t come out as you want them to, change the rules.
Conservatives play within the rules, and succeed or fail based on how well they play.
Isn’t there a provision in this bill requiring all refrigerator manufacturers to provide a lock on the freezer compartment?
Capone was caught in the IRS trap since he did not report his income from murder, bootlegging, prostitution et al. Rep Jefferson has the same exposure and can be sent to Levinworth too!
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